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Table 1 Key differences and similarities between honeybees, Apis mellifera , and the bumblebees Bombus impatiens and B. terrestris

From: The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization

  Honeybee Bumblebees
  A. mellifera B. impatiens B. terrestris
Native range Africa/Asia/Europe Temperate North America Palaearctic region
Nesting Cavity nesters
Nest location Trees Ground
Foraging Generalist foragers of nectar and pollen
Colony cycle Perennial Annual with queen diapause
Colony founding Colony fission Solitary nest founding
Sociality Advanced eusocial Primitively eusocial
Colony size Approximately 20,000-100,000 workers <400 workers
Queen mating system Highly polyandrous Limited polyandry Monandrous
Worker division of labor Age-based Some size- and age-based
Caste differentiation Morphology/Size/Physiology Size/Physiology
Worker reproduction Rare Common
Human links Managed (hundreds-thousands of years) Managed (decades)